45 Incredible Living Room Makeovers From Your Favorite HGTV Shows

Reimagine your space with inspiration from some of our stars’ most jaw-dropping before-and-afters. These beauties are proof positive that any ugly duckling can become a swan.

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April 22, 2020

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Before: A Cold Hearth

A fireplace and wainscoting should add interest to this Mississippi living room, but they’re weighing it down instead. This space needs to start from scratch.

After: Warmth and Character

Erin and Ben Napier of Home Town gave this room a wake-up call with a fresh coat of floor-to-ceiling white paint and bright new window treatments. In place of that ho-hum hearth, this family gathering spot now has a wall of photos and heirlooms — and the dark, dated tiles were swapped out for lighter (and more kid-friendly) vinyl flooring.

Before: Form Without Function

A low, acoustic-tile-paneled ceiling and an unlovely entertainment-center-slash-faux-fireplace aren’t doing this living room addition any favors.

After: Practical and Pretty

Erin and Ben built the addition’s rear wall into a proper multi-use area, complete with a working wood stove, built-in shelving and custom cabinets. The pale celadon paint Erin chose for the walls carries up into handsome new decorative ceiling beams, and bright pine panels and a graphic area rug replace grim beige carpet.

Before: Ancient History

This Mississippi home is authentically vintage, but some of its loveliest details (like the tongue-and-groove ceiling and hardwood floors) are smothered beneath ill-advised updates. It’s in desperate need of thoughtful restoration.

After: Living Legend

The Napiers peeled back decades of modifications and restored this space to its former glory, complete with period-appropriate accessories. They complemented the original ceiling and floor with traditional sconces and a ceiling fan, then paired a vintage area rug with sumptuous, comfortable but classic furnishings.

Before: Land of the Lost

This home is in a fabulous Indianapolis neighborhood, but it’s been hacked into three separate apartments — and a series of cramped rooms that make no sense. Mina Starsiak Hawk and Karen Laine of Good Bones have a long way to go with this renovation.

After: Urban Eden

Mina and Karen brought life back to this living room by knocking down unnecessary walls and celebrating the generous space that emerged with lush foliage, a verdant green sofa and vivid abstract wallpaper. This living space now feels like paradise.

Before: Room for Improvement

There’s plenty of space in the adjoining rooms at the base of these stairs, but no one’s taken advantage of the home’s full footprint.

After: Harmonious Home

Mina and Karen made the most of the open-concept opportunity in these rooms by unifying them with deep, rich flooring, a seamless expanse of white paint and a hallway that begins and ends with retro-modern pendants. The homeowners who settle into this Indianapolis property will have no trouble breezing between their kitchen, living and dining rooms.

Before: No Desert Oasis

This mustard-colored Palm Springs "living room" feels more like a hallway in a municipal building. Who wouldn’t keep on walking?

After: Cozy Corner

Eric and Lindsey Bennett of Desert Flippers gave this area the character it so desperately needed by swapping out those jarring yellow walls and dated salmon tiles for flooring with an organic feel and neutral surfaces. They created a snug seating area that will attract visitors to the new (and infinitely more elegant) hearth.

Before: Bottoming Out

Believe it or not, the carpeting in this glum living room is the best thing about the floor — because when Eric and Lindsey pulled it up, they found that the baseboards beneath had rotted away.

After: Mediterranean Marvel

Now there’s the summery serenity this space so sorely lacked. A striking new tile face makes the hearth a focal point, and its cerulean blue flows out into the room’s accessories. Pale (and structurally sound) laminate flooring is a welcome replacement for that mean, green mess.

Before: A Sad Note

Pay no attention to the popcorn ceiling and cracked concrete floor! This living room is all about the piano abandoned beneath a green sheet.

After: Relaxing Tones

The Bennetts stripped and repaired this room’s dilapidated walls and washed them in white, then echoed that cool neutral with bleached laminate flooring and desert-hued textiles. This living room is as serene as an evening vista in Palm Springs.

Before: Beige Bunker

With dingy carpet, leftover bolts, stained walls and awkward windows, this living room has been left for dead.

After: Gleaming Chic

This bright, inviting space is as gracious as its former incarnation was gritty. In place of the world’s saddest ceiling fan, a vintage-inspired trio of globes presides over a midcentury-modern seating area and a sleek new floor that reflects every last ray of the desert sun.

Before: More Is Less

There’s a lot going on in this dark and cluttered Nashville home — so much, in fact, that this room lacks a focal point altogether. It feels more like a storage space than a gathering place — a storage space with a disco ball, that is.

After: All Grown Up

Jonathan and Drew Scott of Property Brothers: Buying and Selling eased this room back to its original purpose by adding a stone fireplace to anchor the seating area. They turned the volume down on the cacophony of colors in the furnishings and accessories, and left the space humming with luxurious, neutral tones.

Before: That '90s Room

There’s no denying that this Tennessee space is put-together, but it seems to have been put together a few decades ago.

After: The Future Is Bright

The Scott brothers helped this living room wriggle free of its past by coating its stale café-au-lait walls in an au courant eggshell. So long, heavy mantel art and fussy curtains — and hello, bold strokes of color and breezy white textiles. Used sparingly, the dark tones in the room are now sharp rather than dull.

Before: No Fun

For a space that consists of little more than toys and tech, this room offers surprisingly little in the way of entertainment. There’s seating, a screen, a few playthings ... and that’s about it.

After: Quality Time

The now-charcoal hearth area is a dozen times lovelier now that a flat-screen TV doesn’t glare over it like Nineteen Eighty-Four’s Big Brother. Jonathan and Drew Scott put the slumping old sectional out to pasture and replaced it with ultra-modern modular pieces in heather gray, and they added accessories in warm caramel tones to give the space the "wow" factor it so sorely lacked.

Before: No Country for Old Furniture

This Brentwood, Tennessee, living room offers rustic comfort, but its overwhelming browns give it a serious case of the blues.

After: A Modern Hit

The vaulted ceiling now receives its due, thanks to an accent beam the Scott brothers added to draw the eye to its architecture. Massive, dramatic pendants make the most of that once-ignored overhead space, and velvety gray sofas on an area rug below form the edges of a chic conversation area before the fireplace.

Before: Musty and Misused

In theory, this space in Karen and Mina’s tiny-house flip was functioning as a bedroom — but it wasn’t functioning very successfully. The few signs of life in here look like picked-over thrift-store leftovers.

After: Ready for Company

Sheer drapes installed close to the ceiling make the once-diminutive front window look much larger, and shiplap detailing on the walls is a vast improvement over their once-yellowing paint and frumpy trim. After installing a dark, handsome new floor, Karen layered on a plush area rug and a sheepskin, then added plush traditional seating and much-needed lighting.

Before: Been There, Done That

Once upon a time, this living room might have been considered chic. That time … is not this time, and its fussy molding and paneling, matchy-matchy color scheme and extraneous wall all need to go.

After: Modern Family

Jasmine Roth blasted through the former TV wall to give her clients free access to the kitchen from the living room. Pale new flooring ties in beautifully with the bright and eclectic new furniture she chose for the space, and a standalone marble fireplace is on-trend and simple enough to stand the test of time.

Before: Baby in a Corner

This fireplace and “entertainment center” feel utterly lost in this space; they aren’t connected to one another and are way too far away from the sectional to feel like features of a gathering place.

After: Roomy Reunion

Jasmine Roth gave this home a healthy new heart by creating proper focal points: vibrant family photos create a feature wall, and funky modern macramé plant hangers top an updated fireplace. In lieu of a single sectional pointed at a tired TV, Jasmine chose a pair of armchairs and a slipcovered sofa that face each other across a massive new coffee table.

Before: Where Is Everybody?

This room is full of potentially useful things — ample seating, a fireplace with potential and a generously sized window — but it lacks personal things. Jasmine will turn “anybody’s living room” into a space that truly reflects her clients' colorful lives.

After: Welcome Back!

A pretty gingham wall treatment and a massive sunburst basket give the fireplace the quirk it so desperately needed. Vibrant family photos line two gallery walls, and an eye-popping vintage board game coffee table provides storage and anchors the space. There’s also actual life here: we love how Jasmine scattered architectural plants throughout the living room.

Before: As-Is? As If.

The living-space-as-blank-canvas Mina Starsiak Hawk and her competitors began with for Rock the Block wasn’t tragic, per se, but those windows didn’t admit the kind of light she was after. It was time to let the sunshine in.

After: Indoor-Outdoor Expanse

Blasting through those windows and replacing them with retractable doors completely changed the feel of this room: transitioning from the cozy sectional and fireplace in the living room to an outdoor dining table and yet another fireplace is a matter of walking a few feet. Mina chose a gorgeous herringbone pattern for her floor and used natural materials and pops of springy color to turn her tract home into a dazzler.

Before: A Lot of Look

This historic Pittsburgh home has something for everyone: There’s blood-red paint, trompe-l’oeil detailing along the molding, a lonely marble fireplace and too-modern leather and steel furniture.

After: Postmodern Poise

Leanne Ford of Restored by the Fords let this living room’s elegant figure do the talking: She took the walls back to her beloved bright white to give the fireplace’s subtle details a chance to shine, then slipcovered the dark sofa and brought color back slowly with notes of teal in the area rug, velvety throw pillows and an armchair.

Before: Trapped in Time

In its present state, this historic home’s living room has more of a suspended-in-amber feel than an era-appropriate one. An awkward stone room divider, moreover, functions as a stumbling block rather than an area of interest.

After: Precious Stone

Awash in afternoon sun, the massive hearth is now the living room’s guest of honor. Leanne Ford echoed its natural tones in a pair of midcentury wicker chairs and punctuated her creamy white backdrop with artistic slashes of black in metalwork and watercolor.

Before: Seating for an Army

Between the childproofing around the entertainment center and the space-swallowing form of the giant sectional, this living room has started to feel like a fortress.

After: Suburban Salon

Jasmine Roth of Hidden Potential broke the one-and-done seating down into a series of eye-catching perches, then softened the window treatments by removing stark white shutters and adding deep, semi-sheer curtains. Houseplants and flower arrangements scattered throughout the space echo the new sofa’s tone and the sun-dappled landscaping in the yard just outside.

Before: Someone Else's Space

The California couple that shares this home loves color, art and midcentury style — none of which have pride of place in this living room.

After: Charismatic Comfort

This cozy home now reflects its owners inside and out: Jasmine gave the fireplace a smooth stucco face that mimics the building’s new concrete exterior, and graphic art replaces the somber TV. Minimal shades open to the yard, and a smattering of playful geometric pieces add an element of '60s chic.

Before: Unwelcome Guest

Awash in toys and topped with a hulking television, this fireplace makes no sense — and this living room isn’t entertaining anyone especially well. (Spoiler: During demolition, Jasmine’s team discovered the hearth wasn’t even safe!)

After: Creative Genius

An electronic roller shade now conceals the TV behind serene abstract art, and a feature wall of family photos stands in for the fireplace. With plenty of seating and storage, this is a room that actually works for a growing family.

Before: Lost in the Woods

Why is this southern California bungalow masquerading as a hunting cabin? The dated brick, stained carpeting and floor-to-ceiling paneling have got to go.

After: Bright and Beachy

Christina El Moussa of Flip or Flop brought coastal character to this space with soft gray paint on the walls, ceiling beams and fireplace. Sunny yellow accessories and sea-green mantel accents give the room a bit of Golden State glamour.

Before: Unfinished Business

This room hasn’t gotten much love of late: note that the frame on the mirror above the mantel still sports cardboard packing corners. Attention, please!

After: Grand Finale

Jillian Harris of Love It or List It, Too knew this living room could be a showstopper, and her expert guidance brought it to this splashy new look. With architectural casing and a natural wood mantel, the neglected fireplace is now a proper focal point. Brighter white paint and playful textiles bring the space to life.

Before: Passé Parlor

This Mississippi sitting room has a bit of everything: the classic chair rail is a keeper, the ceiling fan is a must that could stand to be updated, and the wall separating the kitchen from the rest of the house is destined for a demolition bin.

After: Proof of Concept

An open floor plan makes all the difference in this now-gracious space. Erin and Ben Napier replaced that superfluous wall with impeccable trim around a cased opening that defines the living room without isolating it; morning coffee on vintage stools at an all-new island can flow seamlessly into a cozy afternoon in the eclectic sitting area. The sleek new fan complements the curtain rod and the coffee table’s geometric base.

Before: Halfhearted Hearth

An ample fireplace should be a point of pride, but the clinical mirror above this one is practically begging to be overlooked. The hardwood floor, in turn, is in desperate need of serious attention.

After: All White Now

The Napiers demonstrate that updates don’t have to be labor-intensive to have serious impact: the fireplace’s smooth new face and swapped-in mantel art are easy fixes that make a world of difference. A bit of TLC on the floor has restored it to its former glory, and creamy white paint paired with an ample, unfussy sofa complete the space’s glow-up.

Before: Regrettably Retro

The dated details in this living room — busy floral curtains, a brass face for the hearth, a heavy stain on the hardwood — are draining the life out of it.

After: Clever Comeback

Erin Napier gave the once-buttery walls a coat of barely-there green paint and chose a new, sophisticated floral print for the front window treatment. Linen panels replace the tired blinds above the bookcases, and opalescent tiles freshen up the fireplace.

Before: Cold Storage

Built-in cabinetry has the potential to be a focal point, to be sure; at present it’s a bit of a wallflower. The tile, in turn, makes this living room feel like a waiting room.

After: Into the Blue

What a difference a shade makes! Erin used powder-blue paint to give the shelving a hint of glamour, then carried that color through the room with accessories. Walnut-toned flooring provides much-needed contrast with pale upholstered pieces and a new area rug.

Before: Nobody's Home

Getting lost in an empty room should be impossible, but it’s plausible in this Mississippi home; in the absence of focal points and defined spaces, the blankness itself is overwhelming.

After: You Are Here

With an oh-so-cozy new fireplace that anchors a sitting area and a cottage-style dining table atop a natural area rug, this room’s purposes are clear at last. Erin drew attention to the original grasscloth wallpaper by echoing its honeyed tones in hardwood and caning on a crisp pair of armchairs.

Before: Textiles to Exile

Have you ever wondered where desperately old upholstery and floor coverings go to die? This southern California home, right here. This is where they go.

After: All Clear

Flip or Flop’s Christina and Tarek peeled back (and tossed out) decades of spooky rugs, carpeting and seating to reveal the room’s underlying character. They also blasted through the wall between the kitchen and the living room—which (in combination with gleaming new floors and the added blast of sunlight from a window above the sink) makes this space look both airy and huge.

Before: Looking Shady

The curtains and shutters in this Anaheim living room double down on its gloomy atmosphere, but for the neighborhood’s sake, it’s a good thing they’re closed. Nobody needs a view of the mayhem in this unloved space.

After: On the Bright Side

The now-bare front windows welcome daylight (and guests) to a cozy open-concept living space. Christina used pale, luxe-looking laminate flooring to unify sitting, dining and prep areas, then used linens and art to add exclamation points of color.

Before: Sunroom Bummer

The empty chamber between the living room and the yard is a double whammy: it prevents natural light from reaching this California home’s main gathering space and it steals square footage from what would otherwise be an ample yard.

After: Beauty in Balance

Christina and Tarek turned that wonky sunroom into an outdoor atrium, and the home’s reimagined footprint completely transforms the living room. It’s now so bright that a charcoal area rug, sofa and loungers provide crucial tonal contrast (instead of disappearing into the gloom as their predecessors did). Toss pillows, artwork and tabletop accessories in sunny citrus tones emphasize the space’s new personality.

Uneasy Being Green

Between the veritable acres of vivid carpet, the faux palm, and the festive-but-tacky detritus, this West Covina home bears a rather uncanny resemblance to a miniature golf course.

After: Calm, Cool and Collected

Christina Anstead pulled up that unlovely swath of emerald-green carpet and replaced it with pale flooring and an expansive, textural area rug. A subtle geometric theme carries from the glass-topped coffee table to the sofa’s toss pillows, and oceanic blue textiles and ceramics add a note of California coastal chic.

Before: Manic Carpet

In a very specific context, this busy flooring might have made sense, oh, three decades ago. “Beside a room-swallowing, rustic hearth,” alas, was and is not that context.

After: Subtlety in Styling

The pared-down, tiled fireplace is an era-appropriate complement to the room’s new pale flooring and understated area rug. Between the artwork, textiles and accents, there’s an incredible assortment of textures in this space—but because their neutral tones belong to the same family, the sitting area’s overall atmosphere is stylish and serene.

Before: Sticks and Stones

The one-note wood and clunky fireplace in this dark Yorba Linda, California, living room have worn out their welcome.

After: Natural Charisma

Christina contrasted a high-concept new fireplace with ultra-organic furnishings like a pair of glass-topped, vine-supported side tables, a fiber-wrapped coffee table, and sculptural wood accents. We love how the masculine geometry of the black-and-white hearth contrast with the feminine pattern and pile of the area rug.

Before: Down and Dirty

This room was a haphazard mess long before it housed actual garbage: the oppressive shutters don’t match their trim, the dark front door clashes with the pale green wall and the hardwood floor, and the wallpaper is just plain sad.

After: Pulled-Together Patterns

Christina found matching, minimalist replacements for the shutters and door, then updated the accent wall with a pale contemporary paper. There are patterns aplenty here, but they’re complementary neutrals; no one piece is trying to shoulder any other out of the room.

Before: Beigewatch

The undeniably awesome floor-to-ceiling fireplace in this Pennsylvania home is doing some seriously heavy lifting, stylewise: it has zero backup in the otherwise featureless space.

After: Proper Contrast

Leanne Ford knew she had a gem with that fireplace, and she left it almost entirely intact. The room she reimagined around it, however, is a night-and-day transformation: slate slabs replace the creamy carpet, oatmeal textiles punctuate a pair of gargantuan leather Chesterfields, and a custom bent-metal chandelier positively drips with midcentury-inspired luxury.

Before: Cabin Fever

This room is clearly trying to move in a rustic direction — we see you, faux-stone-and-weathered-mantel fireplace, woodsy decor and exposed beam — but playtime clutter (and a fleur-de-lis?) seems to have brought progress to a grinding halt.

After: Wintry Whites

Leanne made the most of the fireplace’s texture with a semi-translucent wash, then carried that snowy tone across the walls and upstairs. With that pale frame, the existing wood and the industrial coffee table she brought in to anchor the sitting area, feel modern. Simple linen slipcovers on the sofa and chairs, in turn, strike a balance between decadence and kid-friendliness.

Before: Crouching Fireplace, Hidden Sunroom

The separation between this sitting area and the light-filled space beyond it is unjust for both rooms; this home is in need of a major makeunder.

After: Going With the Flow

Behold Leanne and Steve’s magical minimalism: by reimagining the hearth as a standalone feature, they’ve doubled this space’s functionality and personality in one fell swoop. Leanne chose a single pale wood to carry through this room and into the rest of her clients’ home. It’s hard to choose a favorite detail here, but we’re going with the splash of color now emphasizing the archway: it’s now architecture and art.

Before: Hide and Go Seek

The Ford's clients’ home has some absolutely gorgeous details — just look at the carvings on that mantel and those arched windows! — but their living room’s lighting, wallpaper and color choices are muffling their charms.

After: Coming Into the Light

Gone are the coy window treatments and the listless green-gray details; in their place, the now-bold black mantel demands attention. Barely-there contrast between the molding, the walls and the built-in bookcases let subtler design elements like the new trio of sconces and those cases’ contents emerge and catch the eye.

Before: No, Frills!

This entryway and living room have gone stale, thanks to timeworn details like their window treatments, ill-considered crystal chandeliers and musty paint.

After: Back to the (Not So) Basics

Crisp black-and-brass window hardware replaces those too-too drapes and blinds, and a duo of sofas swathed in billowing parachute cotton flank a Steve Ford original (the custom planter he created to match the pale wood coffee table). Leanne pulled up the dated carpet and left a textured sisal rug in its place.

Before: Precious Pastel

One can sort of imagine where this home’s previous decorators were going with the pale green cabinetry and window frames … but that doesn’t mean its new inhabitants want to be there.

After: Country Casual

This living room now has a sophisticated cottage vibe, if you will: Leanne coated every surface with her signature white paint, swapped in contemporary hardware, added detail to the ceiling and crowned the outer hearth with a slab of marble. A mix-and-match leather-and-linen sectional rings the room with cozy seating.

Before: Olden Arches

It’s easy to see why this property interested Mina Starsiak Hawk and Karen E. Laine: those arches are really cool. The ill-considered paint and branch-office drop ceilings that flank them, now: those are not long for this world.

After: Family Album

Leave it to detail-oriented Karen to find molding for the now-squared arches that recalls old-school photo corners. Cloud-gray paint makes the open-concept space feel unified and calm, and sheer blush curtains give the eclectic furnishings a gently rosy glow.

Before: Outdoor Living Room

When you walk into Karen and Mina’s flip, you almost feel like you’re outside … since the shake on the walls quite literally makes its interior look like its exterior. The chocolate-brown carpet, in turn, is better left unexamined.

After: The 'In' Crowd

Karen and Mina broke through the wall separating the living room from the rest of the first floor, replaced that dreadful wall treatment with clean pastel paint and installed handsome, sturdy laminate flooring. This cozy, cultured space is no longer in danger of being mistaken for an inside-out shed.

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